History Class

By | 1 May 2021

my father sold his heart for me to wake up in an Australian flag / so I wear my uniform
like a second skin / and promise to smear the walls in a slick of gold /
in class / the men in the grey coats tell me to listen / tell me this is going to be on the exam /
tell me the hunters are heroes and their nooses are haloes / I watch them /
recite the acknowledgement of country speech at assembly / then lionise your corpses /
and splatter your ashes as questions on the surprise pop quiz / when the new campus is built
on your bones / we’re given a tour / your lips are sealed with varnish / but you flinch
underneath the wooden floorboards each time / another essay loops your grief into daisy chains /
uses your memories as writing prompts / your scars as a primary source / your lives as a statistic /
I want to tell the librarian / my textbooks are in the wrong aisle / but now /
my history teacher holds the final assignment like live bait / I pounce / and write what he wants to hear /
when my report card arrives and I run home / to stick this pyrrhic victory on the fridge /
I realise / I’ve become the shape of my parents’ worst fears

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